[r63] Rep. Messmer honors Pike Central students for design of disaster shelter

Posted by: Zach Weismiller  | Wednesday, February 22, 2012

STATEHOUSE—State Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) honored three Pike Central High School students on the House floor yesterday to recognize their achievements.  The resolution recognized students Jessica D’Esposito, Colton Newton, and Anna Woolery for their economical design of a disaster shelter.

After visiting Haiti and Japan in the wake of destructive earthquakes D’Esposito, Newton, and Woolery were inspired to construct a light-weight, inexpensive and effective disaster shelter for people who have lost their homes due to natural disasters.

“Jessica, Colton, and Anna took the meaning of Hoosier hospitality to new heights,” said Rep. Messmer.  “They witnessed hundreds of thousands of people without shelter, one of the most basic needs for survival, and set out to find a practical solution.  Their determination is a source of pride to Indiana and motivates us all to help those in need.”

Earlier in February, the Pike Central students were invited to the White House for an annual science fair.  President Obama was impressed with the compassion and ingenuity the students demonstrated in designing their project.  The shelter also won an award last summer from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

The shelter can be airdropped into disaster zones and features solar panels, wind turbines, LED lights, and water purification capabilities.  The shelter costs approximately $600 and is constructed of the same material used to make billboards. The students’ next goal is to find a manufacturer willing to begin mass production.

“This project shows what an impact young people can have on the world. This is also another excellent example of what our students can achieve along with programs such as Project Lead the Way. Their disaster shelter has the potential to save thousands of lives and provide a measure of comfort to people who have lost everything, and that is invaluable,” said Rep. Messmer.

Editor’s Note: Please see the attached photo of Rep. Mark Messmer offering the resolution on the House floor along with representatives of Pike Central High School.